So, you’re creating another campaign for another product or service or report or guide or…okay so the point is, if you’re like most marketers, you’re making a lot of campaigns to engage with your audience and get your content out there.

And you’re likely doing it all under tight timelines, right? Because you’ve got to get to creating the next asset and the next, so awesome campaigns have to be delivered fast. Oh and don’t forget the budget – you’ve probably dreamed that you would get to work with Hollywood proportions, but sadly, that isn’t the case for people whose last name isn’t Spielberg. And what about the resources you need to make a video? And what style should it be in?

So many things to consider! One of the first questions people might ask when tackling a video for a campaign is, what style of video do we want to do? The choice often comes down to an animated video, perhaps a motion graphic, or a live action video. There isn’t a one-video-fits-all scenario, so here are a few things you need to consider when trying to decide which video is right for your next campaign.

Time

Does it feel like time plays one of the biggest factors in your creative campaign and video decisions? You may not be alone. You’re probably not working on just one campaign, so you need to get one out the door so you can start managing the next one, or you have to get a campaign launched in time for event season or before some nurtured leads go cold.

So someone on your team might say in a brainstorm meeting, “Hey, we don’t have time for a big fancy production, let’s just animate some of the most important text and content on screen.” Or, maybe you are thinking, “Is that really faster? Or could we just shoot something quickly?”

It turns out, typically motion graphic videos, even the simplest of ones, can take a fair bit of time. Remember when you were a kid and you’d draw a stick figure in a slightly different pose on each separate page of a book, and then flip through the pages really fast to see the animation? It probably felt like it took so much time and effort just to get that stick figure to wave her hand or take a few steps.

So, while live action videos take preparation, scripting, and storyboarding, in the end, you may get an end product that’s ready to launch sooner.

Resources

If you’re lucky enough to have a video team, you might think, “Perfect, let’s get this ball rolling” on whatever video you’ve chosen. Not so fast!

Doing a full motion graphic video means that you would likely have to rely on a graphic designer to create a lot, if not everything, that appears in the video. Then, a video editor would need to put the elements together into a video using Adobe After Effects or similar software. In contrast, live action may only require a few hours to shoot, and one person to edit the footage. But, live action requires actors, whether they are hired talent or coworkers. So keep in mind when you’re in the decision-making stage what resources you will be using, and what their availability is in your timeframe.

Budget

Guess what? Live action can be more expensive than motion graphic. And motion graphic can be more expensive than live action.

So helpful, right? Here’s what I mean. If you are thinking of using a video production agency to create your video, a motion graphic or animated video can cost more than a live action. Animation videos, as explained earlier, typically take more time to create, and can require fancy software and techniques to get the job done. Even if you only have text coming in and out of the screen and no animated characters waving at you and dancing across the screen, everything on the screen has to be created. Live action, on the other hand, though it requires prep and planning and script writing, can be a few-hour shoot, and overall, may cost you less.

Buuuut…if you’re creating videos in-house, the story might change. If you have a video team who can quickly create motion graphic videos, the cost boils down to your video team’s salary. But, if you want live-action, you may still need to pay actors, or buy or rent equipment, and even the cost of props can add up. So consider everything you may need on set of a live action, or how complicated you’d like your animated video to be before selecting the style you want to go with.

Content

The content of a video itself can help you determine which style would best tell your story and communicate your message.

An animated or motion graphic video can be perfect for explaining abstract ideas that, while not impossible, may be harder to depict using live action. As Mat King, our Video Specialist, says, “Motion graphic video enables you to visualize and create the ‘impossible.’” They can also be a refreshing way to intake a lot of information quickly, instead of watching a talking head spew facts and figures at you. Want to see an example? Here’s a motion graphic we created as part of a campaign for a report launch.

More entertaining and interesting to watch than if you were just hearing it from a spokesperson, right? Don’t think that means live action videos are dry, though. Live-action videos can be perfect for creating a human interaction and relationship with your brand and employees. You can also create a metaphorical story or creative concept to share your message, like we did when we launched the Video Strategy Workbook.

Audience preference

If you’re still unsure what style of video to use, keep in mind this advice: your audience can tell you! You can use video analytics to determine if you get better engagement with live action or animated videos. Every audience has their own needs and preferences, and your own data is the perfect window into what will work best for you.

Now, I don’t want to hold you up any longer from getting your video made and getting that campaign out the door. Let us know which style ended up working well for you for any of your campaigns!

Emily Ross